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ThursdayAugust 9, 2012

Latino Daily News: Bringing You the Latest Hispanic Current Events and News Stories 24/7

To reflect the dynamic interests of our audience, Latino Daily News is an online daily news source and virtual cultural center for and about Latinos. We offer the latest news headlines, as well as innovative and insightful Hispanic current events stories, photos, videos, and commentaries from a Latino perspective, 24/7.

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GM Walks Out of Talks with Colombian Hunger Strikers

GM Walks Out of Talks with Colombian Hunger Strikers

Photo: GM Colombia Talks Break

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Four months after President Barack Obama announced “mission accomplished” on the U.S.-Colombia Labor Action Plan that facilitated the implementation of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, General Motors’ management representatives walked out on negotiations with a group of fired GM employees with work-related injuries. GM’s move suggests that the mission is not yet accomplished, and that much more needs to be done to protect the rights of workers in Colombia.

For the past year, members of ASOTRECOL, the Association of Injured and Ex-Workers of GM Colmotores de Colombia, have peacefully protested GM’s practice of systematically firing workers without compensation after they have incurred debilitating occupational injuries. These injuries include carpal tunnel syndrome due to repetitive motions and herniated disks from lifting and operating heavy machinery during their time of service at GM. Seven days ago, ASOTRECOL began a hunger strike with several protestors sewing their lips together when their one year peaceful protest in front of the U.S. Embassy in Bogota, Colombia yielded lots of promises from the U.S. and no results.

On August 6, thanks to political pressure from the U.S. Congress and civil society groups and a subsequent intervention by Ambassador McKinley, representatives of the Colombian Ministry of Labor, International Labor Organization (ILO), and GM Colombia met with the workers. As the workers presented their concerns, which were supported by the Inspector General’s investigations, GM representatives walked out of the meeting without resolving any of the workers’ concerns.

The United States and Colombia have committed themselves to improving the labor rights situation confronting Colombia’s workers by reducing trade union violence and impunity for aggression against labor leaders while also improving labor standards and working conditions.

Read more at Washington Office on Latin America →

8 Million Birds Killed to Prevent the Spread of Flu in Mexico

8 Million Birds Killed to Prevent the Spread of Flu in Mexico

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Some 8 million birds have been slaughtered in the western Mexican state of Jalisco to prevent the spread of the avian flu virus, the National Food Health, Safety and Quality Service, or Senasica, said.

A total of 65.8 million birds have been vaccinated at 245 farms in Jalisco’s Los Altos region, the Senasica said in a statement.

The virus is under control in the region, which is home to 42 cities, and 87 health specialists have taken 40,190 samples from 401 farms, the agency said.

The AH7N3 virus has been found at 41 farms, while the number of farms declared free of the virus has risen from 335 to 360, the Senasica said.

Hens found to be infected during the vaccination process are destroyed, the health agency said.

Inspections have been conducted at 342 farms in 19 states, the Senasica said, adding that the highly pathogenic virus was not found at the various sites.

Poultry farmers have been asked once again to avoid moving live birds and remains into areas that are free of the virus, the health agency said.

Bird flu does not pose a risk to people consuming meat or eggs, and the measures being taken are “aimed at protecting poultry production in the area,” the Senasica said.

Mexican health officials said in late June that the presence of the avian influenza virus had been detected in Jalisco and took emergency measures to prevent its spread.

The vaccine is being produced by the National Veterinary Biological Production Agency, or Pronabive, with assistance from three private pharmaceutical companies.

Mexico, according to National Poultry Producers Association figures, produces nearly 2.5 million tons of eggs and 1.2 million tons of meat annually.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Bolivia’s “Highway of Death” Kills 11, Injures 86 in One Week

Bolivia’s “Highway of Death” Kills 11, Injures 86 in One Week

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Eleven people were killed and 86 others injured in a one-week period on Bolivia’s “highway of death,” authorities said Wednesday.

A bus crash Tuesday near the village of Irupana, 151 kilometers (98 miles) from La Paz, left five dead and 45 injured.

The bus ran off the road and plunged 250 meters (820 feet) to the bottom of a ravine.

One person died and four were hurt on Monday when a vehicle flipped over on another stretch of the same narrow, poorly maintained road.

Last Thursday, four people were killed and 37 others injured when a bus fell into a ravine 120 meters (393 feet) deep, while a fifth person died in an accident involving a van.

The “highway of death” winds through Yungas, a region of steep valleys that descend from the 4,000-meter (13,114-feet) Andean highlands into Amazonian jungles.

The road’s dangers - and its spectacular views - have become an attraction for daredevil cyclists and bikers, mostly from abroad.

Read more by HS News Staff →

OLYMPICS 2012: Colombia’s Jackeline Renteria Wins Bronze in Women’s Wrestling

OLYMPICS 2012: Colombia’s Jackeline Renteria Wins Bronze in Women’s Wrestling

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Colombia’s Jackeline Renteria has duplicated the bronze medal she had won in Beijing in 2008 in the 55kg freestyle wrestling category, defeating Ukraine’s Tatyana Lazareva.

Renteria did not make it to the event’s final round at the 2012 London Games because she lost a tight match to Canada’s Tonya Lynn Verbeek.

In a spectacular demonstration of physical power, the Colombian, who in 2008 won one of the only two Olympic medals her country’s athletes brought home from China, won all her fights in the last two periods after having started out losing the first period.

The fight for the bronze was no exception and in the first period of the match with Lazareva Renteria’s performance did not stand out and she lost 1-0.

In the second period, however, the 26-year-old Colombian took the offensive and, despite the fact that the score was 0-0 after two minutes, won the period in a tiebreaker by 3-0.

In the last period, Renteria fought intelligently and secured a 2-0 advantage just before time was up.

When the final buzzer sounded, dozens of her compatriots cheered in the stands while Renteria’s coach jumped onto the canvas to embrace her and offer her a Colombian flag, which she proudly wrapped around herself.

“In the first place, I want to give infinite thanks to God. He promised me a long time ago that he was going to give me titles and this year he has given them to me. And here I am, thanks to him, celebrating this medal,” said the second Colombian athlete in history - and the first woman from her country - to win two Olympic medals.

“It’s a joy for me to be the first woman to do it and I also hope to be the first to get three. The road goes on and I’m already looking to Rio de Janeiro,” she said, referring to the site of the 2016 Games.

Renteria’s bronze brings Colombia’s 2012 medal count to six.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Albert the Bengal Tiger Cub Joins Mexican Animal Shelter

Albert the Bengal Tiger Cub Joins Mexican Animal Shelter

Photo: Albert the Bengal tiger cub

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A Bengal tiger cub at the center of a custody dispute has been living for the past three months at the city animal shelter in Guadalajara, the capital of the western Mexican state of Jalisco, sharing the facility with about 50 cats and dogs.

Albert enjoys playing with a new basketball at the shelter, totally unaware of his legal predicament.

“He’s happy here,” shelter director Guillermo Korkowski told Efe, adding that he was “very fond” of his 6-month-old guest.

Albert arrived at the shelter on May 12 after his former home, Parque Alcalde, was closed by city officials for failing to comply with the terms of its permit.

City and federal environmental officials seized the tiger cub, a cockatoo and several other small exotic animals that served as the park’s attractions.

Albert was leased to the park’s owners by a man who has failed to claim him, prompting environmental officials to sue the man over custody of the big cat and to require certification of his legal origin, Korkowski said.

The Environment Secretariat’s holding facility was full, so the cub had to be taken to the city animal shelter temporarily.

Albert’s stay has been longer than expected, forcing shelter officials to build an adequate space for the growing tiger, who is nearly a half-meter (1.6-feet) tall and weighs about 70 kilos (154 pounds).

A large cage that held up to 21 dogs was customized to give the big cat certain luxuries, such as a kiddie pool, a swing made from an old tire, a tree trunk to use as a scratching post and a desk so he can sleep in a high place.

“He’s the king here and he knows it, he knows all of us and is used to the place,” Korkowski said while petting the tiger through the bars of his cage.

Albert eats nearly three kilos (6.6 pounds) of imported chicken every day.

He gets beef only on Fridays “even though he doesn’t like it very much,” the shelter director said.

Francisco Guerrero, who is in charge of feeding the tiger and giving him his calcium supplements, is the only person at the shelter who was brave enough to give Albert his shots and deworm him.

Guerrero sometimes even plays ball with the big cat.

“Tigers also have to be controlled, but you have to know how to respect their place,” Guerrero said, adding that he was happy to get close to one of the big cats.

Shelter officials say they know the tiger cannot stay at the facility much longer because he will soon need more space.

They hope Albert’s legal case will be resolved soon so environmental officials can take him to a zoo that has the facilities to care for him or that his owner can find the cub a new home.

The latter option appears unlikely because few people “can keep and feed a 300-kilo (660-pound) adult tiger at their house,” Korkowski said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

EXTREME TRAFFICKING:  57-Year-Old Dies After Choking on Bag of Cocaine Hidden in His Rectum

EXTREME TRAFFICKING:  57-Year-Old Dies After Choking on Bag of Cocaine Hidden in His Rectum

Photo: Hermilo Sanchez Dies in Las Cruces, New Mexico

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Hermilo Salcedo, 57, of Las Cruces, New Mexico has died after being hospitalized for choking on a bag of cocaine he attempted to swallow to keep away from law enforcement.

Salcedo was being arrested on warrant last Thursday on charges of drug trafficking at the local county detention center, when officers found a bag of cocaine in the suspect’s rectum.  Officers, the Las Cruces Sun News, are reporting asked Salcedo to removed the, as of then, unidentified item.

Salcedo then proceeded to swallow what was then identified as a bag of cocaine.  He immediately began choking and the detention center’s medical staff performed CPR.  Authorities are reporting that officers did try to dislodge the bag from Salcedo’s windpipe. 

Salcedo was taken to Las Cruces’ Memorial Medical Center where he remained in critical condition, he died on Sunday.  The incident is under investigation which is standard protocol for an incident like this.

Hermillo is survived by his wife of 38 years, Nancy and two adult children. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Cuban Power Grid to Receive $50 M Investment

Cuban Power Grid to Receive $50 M Investment

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The Cuban government plans to invest $50 million to upgrade Havana’s aging electricity grid, which has been plagued by power outages in recent weeks, state television reported.

“It has been decided to undertake speedy capital repairs” in the wake of the recent power outages, which especially affected the municipalities of Habana Vieja and Plaza de la Revolucion, Havana electric utility director Ricardo Mangana said.

“This project was envisioned to be carried out over 10 years, but the outages have led us to do it in three years” because the capital’s electric grid “is very old,” Mangana said.

The goal of the project is to upgrade the grid, which has been in operation for 80 years, to prevent power outages and improve lighting in the city, state television said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

YouTube Star, Talia Joy Castellano, 12, Now Battling Two Forms of Cancer (VIDEO)

YouTube Star, Talia Joy Castellano, 12, Now Battling Two Forms of Cancer (VIDEO)

Photo: YouTube Star, Talia Joy Castellano, 12, Now Battling Two Forms of Cancer

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Talia Joy Castellano may soon die. It may be hard news to swallow, but at just 12 years old, Castellano seems to be taking it better than anyone.

Castellano recently announced to her many YouTube channel viewers that she is now battling two cancers, not just the one she was diagnosed with on Valentine’s Day more than 5 years ago.

In 2007, Castellano was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma cancer, a tumor that develops from nerve tissue in infants and children.

As her battle against the cancer began, she lost her hair. Not caring for wigs, the bald yet beautiful child learned to make herself feel beautiful by learning professional make-up techniques.

She began doing YouTube make-up tutorials and over the years has garnered more than 100,000 viewers.

“When I put on my make-up I feel like I can embrace those features that I really like about myself. I feel if someone’s looking at me, they’re looking at my make-up, not looking at my bald head.” Adding, “I am just trying to make young girls, young adults, adults, anyone, feel beautiful by using makeup.”

ImageRecently, Castellano was dealt a another blow in her fight against cancer. On Tuesday, she revealed in a video that she was now fighting both the neuroblastoma and pre-leukemia in her bone marrow.

She stated that both are very serious and very aggressive, adding that they both spread quickly and are “very very deadly.

“There’s nothing really out there that treats both types of cancers,” she said frankly. “Basically, there’s not really a lot of options for treatment anymore. The thing that they want to do right now is a bone marrow transplant, and that is going to be one of the toughest things I’m going to have to do – ever, because I’ve done stem cell, I’ve done surgery… I’ve had so many surgeries it’s crazy. So they said it’s going to be the toughest thing I’m going to do if I’m going to do it.”

She goes on to say she has been given all the information needed to make a decision, saying her doctors and parents have been very honest with her.

Should she not get the transplant, she is said to have anywhere from 4 months to a year to live. The transplant is not guaranteed to work, but it is pretty much guaranteed to not be a pleasant experience.

At the moment, the nearly 13-year-old has admitted she is leaning towards not doing it and living whatever time she has left to the fullest.

“I’m definitely scared,” she confesses, but she says she will continue to do videos for as long as she can (she does a make-up tutorial once a week, and sometimes personal vlogs like the one below).

Watch all of her YouTube videos on her channel Make-upisMYwig.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Star Rafa Marquez Plays Soccer With Children in New York

Mexican Star Rafa Marquez Plays Soccer With Children in New York

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Mexican soccer star Rafa Marquez coached about 30 New York City boys and girls during a clinic at Riverbank State Park in Harlem.

The New York Red Bulls midfielder spent two hours giving the kids tips on handling the ball at Tuesday’s clinic, which was organized by his foundation.

“We do this to support the kids in the city of New York, trying to share this opportunity with the kids of Harlem is a fun time,” Marquez, a former Barcelona player, said.

Marquez, who congratulated Mexico’s Olympic soccer team via Twitter for coming back from a deficit and beating Japan 3-1 to advance to the final, said clinics were important because they gave children an opportunity to have fun and learn about a sport that was “very healthy” for their development.

The foundation has been providing funds for seven years to help disadvantaged children, operating nutrition centers in Mexico as part of its “Nutrition, Education and Sports” campaign, Marquez said.

The Rafa Marquez Foundation receives support from the New York Red Bulls, among other donors.

The team is giving fans the option of donating $4 to the foundation when they buy tickets for the Aug. 19 match against Portland.

More than 700 children are served by the centers in Tonala and El Salto, located in the western Mexican state of Jalisco, and in Zamora, a city in the western state of Michoacan.

The centers help promote child development and improve the quality of life of children.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Michael Martinez Stabbed For Smacking Girlfriend’s Sunburned Butt

Michael Martinez Stabbed For Smacking Girlfriend’s Sunburned Butt

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After getting badly sunburned, Tiffany Sherry returned to her Pennsylvania home in pain. He boyfriend had no idea that one smack of the tush would land him the hospital.

Sherry, 24, burned her rear end in the sun and had informed her boyfriend, Michael Martinez, she was in pain. However, while Sherry was washing dishes in her Bethlehem home, Martinez thought it would be funny to smack his girlfriend’s bum as a joke, later telling police he knew it would sting, but thought it would be funny.

After the painful slap, Sherry grabbed a steak knife and followed Martinez out of the kitchen and into the room the room where he children were watching television.

Just as she poked him I the chest with the knife, she ordered her children to leave the room. Once they left, Sherry allegedly stabbed Martinez in the right shoulder and the upper part of his back while yelling, “I’m going to f*cking kill you!”

When police arrived at his residence, they reportedly found Martinez bleeding from a stomach wound and observed “two distinct cuts to the front and rear of [his] right shoulder area.” He was transported to St. Luke’s Hospital for treatment.

Sherry is being held in the Northampton County Prison in lieu of $25,000 bond and a preliminary hearing is set for August 16th. This is not Sherry’s first assault, as she was arrested in 2008 for stabbing a man with a fork while arguing over diapers.

She has been charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, making terrorist threats and reckless endangerment.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Yovany Gonzalez Claims Wells Fargo Fired Him Because Daughter’s Cancer Bills Were too High

Yovany Gonzalez Claims Wells Fargo Fired Him Because Daughter’s Cancer Bills Were too High

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According to a lawsuit filed on behalf of Yovany Gonzalez, Wells Fargo fired him when the cost of his daughter’s cancer treat got too high.

Three days prior to a scheduled surgery for his daughter Mackenzie, Gonzalez was fired from his job at Wells Fargo. He and his wife believe he was let go because the company and the health insurer no longer wanted to cover the cost.

Before Gonzalez was fired however, Wells Fargo and United Health Care, contacted his wife and asked “numerous questions” about Macenzie’s treatment and made “several references…to the cost of her treatment.” Also, according to the lawsuit, Gonzalez’s supervisor informed him that Wells Fargo was looking for reasons get rid of him.

Just three days before Mackenzie was to have surgery in August of 2010, the hospital cancelled the procedure, saying she was no longer covered by Gonzalez’s health insurance through Wells Fargo.

ImageWells Fargo on the other hand, claims Gonzalez was fired due to allegedly falsifying his time records. His supervisor has since defended Gonzalez, saying it was fine that he could not remember his exact hours. His schedule had been varied since Mackenzie was diagnosed with cancer in December of 2008, as her father began working from other locations to accommodate her treatment schedule.

Though Gonzalez is now working for Chase Bank, he says he makes far less than he did at Wells Fargo, because he is not being allowed to sell securities due to the reasons given for his termination from Wells Fargo.

Also included in the lawsuit, is the allegation that Wells Fargo waited too long to give Gonzalez information about how to continue his family’s life insurance coverage. Because of the delay, Gonzalez says he was unable to extend the coverage in time and his policy expired. As a result, the life insurance policy, which covered both the parents and the children, expired before his daughter died and the family was not able to receive compensation after her death.

Huffington Post wrote:

While you are entitled to extend your employer health insurance coverage under the COBRA law if you lose your job, as long as you pay the full premium, it took more than 90 days for Wells Fargo to send Gonzalez information about how to extend his health insurance policy under COBRA, said paralegal Walter Stein, who is helping represent Gonzalez.

In the end, a charity donated the money for the health insurance premium and Gonzalez was able to extend his family’s insurance coverage under COBRA.

Sadly, despite her fight, Mackenzie died in March of 2011.

Read more by HS News Staff →

CHECK OUT:  Bold Bear Inside New Mexico Resort

CHECK OUT:  Bold Bear Inside New Mexico Resort. 

We don’t think the Angel Fire Resort in New Mexico has ever had a guest quite like this - a large bear.  The popular resort’s security camera captured this unique guest as it wondered fearlessly through the lobby and check-in desk.  The furry visitor stayed for 10-minutes without causing any damage or frightening the paying guests.


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Read more by HS News Staff →

OLYMPICS 2012: Cuban Pole Vaulter Lazaro Borges Falls After Pole Snaps (VIDEO)

OLYMPICS 2012: Cuban Pole Vaulter Lazaro Borges Falls After Pole Snaps (VIDEO)

Photo: OLYMPICS 2012: Cuban Pole Vaulter Lazaro Borges Falls After Pole Snaps

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Sometimes things just go wrong for Olympics. Cuba’s Lazaro Borges can now include himself on the list of Olympians who had mishaps while the cameras were rolling.

Borges, 26, was heading towards the bar for his attempt at clearing 5.35 meters (about 17.5 feet) in the men’s pole vault finals qualifier when his pole snapped and left him falling from the air.

As roughly 80,000 people held their breath, Borges crashed to the pads, but luckily avoided the broken and sharp debris. He was able to brush himself off and collect the broken pole pieces, before walking away.

The Havana-born Olympian failed to clear the bar on his second attempt, but was able to clear it on his third. Unfortunately, Borges missed all three of his attempts at 5.6 meters later in the day and finished just one place short of qualifying for the finals.

Last year, Borges won a silver medal at the world championship.


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CBP Officers Seize $43,000 Worth of Marijuana

CBP Officers Seize $43,000 Worth of Marijuana

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A 53-year-old male Mexican national was arrested Monday for attempting to smuggle nearly 87 pounds of marijuana into the United States through the Dennis DeConcini Port of Entry.

Customs and Border Protection officers discovered 80 packages, worth an estimated $43,000, concealed inside metal compartments within all four of the truck’s tires after a CBP narcotics detection canine alerted to the vehicle.

The subject was arrested and turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. The drugs and vehicle were seized.

Individuals arrested may be charged by complaint, the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity, which raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent unless and until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Illinois Governor Signs Law to Boost Bilingual Education in State

Illinois Governor Signs Law to Boost Bilingual Education in State

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Governor Pat Quinn today signed a new law designed to strengthen bilingual education in Illinois. The law authorizes the Illinois Advisory Council on Bilingual Education to study and make recommendations on the state of bilingual education in Illinois, as well as the role of parents of students whose first language is not English.

Sponsored by Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia (D-Aurora) and Sen. Iris Martinez (D-Chicago), House Bill 3819 requires the Advisory Council to evaluate the success rate of bilingual programs, examine innovative initiatives such as “parent academies” and “cultural competency programs”, and submit a report to the State Superintendent of Education, Governor and General Assembly by Jan. 1, 2013.

According to an Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) study, there were 183,000 Illinois students in 2010 for whom English was not a first language, nearly 10 percent of the entire student population. Spanish-speakers comprise 80 percent of those enrolled in English language programs; rounding out the top ten are Polish, Urdu, Arabic, Tagalog, Korean, Cantonese/Mandarin, Gujarati, Vietnamese and Russian.

The bill was supported by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), and passed unanimously in both chambers. The new law takes effect Jan. 1, 2013.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Tropical Storm Ernesto Moving Through Southern Mexico, May Regain Hurricane Status Again

Tropical Storm Ernesto Moving Through Southern Mexico, May Regain Hurricane Status Again

Photo: Tropical Storm Ernesto in Southern Mexico

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Tropical Storm Ernesto is moving through southern Mexico and is on the verge of regaining Category 1 hurricane status, the Mexican weather service said Thursday.

A hurricane watch is in effect “from Campeche, in the state of Campeche, to Nautla, in Veracruz,” the weather service said in its 7:30 a.m. (1230 GMT) bulletin.

The storm is located about 65 kilometers (40 miles) east-northeast of Coatzacoalcos, in Veracruz, and is moving at 20 kph (13 mph).

Tropical Storm Ernesto has maximum sustained winds of 110 kph (70 mph), with gusts of up to 140 kph (87 mph), the weather service said.

The storm’s center crossed the Yucatan Peninsula on Wednesday and moved over water.

Ernesto is expected to make landfall once again Thursday, “creating the potential for intense to torrential rains, strong winds and powerful waves, as well as flooding on the southern coast of the Gulf of Mexico, (and) the central and southeastern national territory,” the weather service said.

A high-level alert is in place in Tabasco state, northern and northwestern Chiapas state, southern Veracruz, the western portion of Yucatan state and central and southwestern Campeche state, the national emergency management office said in its 4:30 a.m. (0930 GMT) bulletin.

Other areas, including central and eastern Oaxaca state, eastern Puebla state and parts of Chiapas and Campeche, are under a high-danger alert.

Parts of Puebla and Hidalgo, Tlaxcala, Quintana Roo and San Luis Potosi states are under low danger-level alerts, the national emergency management office said.

The storm first made landfall Tuesday night near Mahahual, a city in the southeastern state of Quintana Roo, as a Category 1 hurricane packing winds of up to 165 kph (103 mph).

Quintana Roo is home to most of the tourist destinations in the Yucatan Peninsula.

Ernesto is the fifth tropical cyclone of the 2012 Atlantic season, following Alberto, Beryl, Chris and Debby, which killed three people in the United States.

The season officially began on June 1 and ends on Nov. 30, but two storms - Alberto and Beryl - formed in May.

Read more by HS News Staff →

CENSUS:  Let’s Drop Ethnicity Question and Treat Hispanics as Distinct Race

CENSUS:  Let’s Drop Ethnicity Question and Treat Hispanics as Distinct Race

Photo: 2010 U.S. Census

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The U.S. Census Bureau released research from its 2010 Census Race and Hispanic Origin Alternative Questionnaire Experiment, which provides a comparison of different census questionnaire design strategies for collecting census data on race and Hispanic origin.

The Bureau is recommending that Hispanics now be treated as a distinct group and therefore drop the ethnicity question all together.  This would mean Hispanics would just be asked about race:  black, white or Hispanic.  The recommendation is made so as to better count the different demographics in the U.S.

The study tested several versions of an experimental combined question on race and Hispanic origin. The current classification treats race and Hispanic origin as two separate and distinct concepts.

The results showed that a higher number of individuals were more likely to respond to a combined race and Hispanic origin question than to separate questions.

Since the percent of the population who identified as Hispanic was not significantly different across questionnaires, this indicates the Census says that the total proportion of Hispanics was not reduced in a combined question approach, hence the recommendation.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Specialists Work to Preserve Pre-Columbian Murals

Mexican Specialists Work to Preserve Pre-Columbian Murals

Photo: National Pre-Columbian Mural Conservation Program

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Experts have made significant strides in preserving Mexico’s pre-Columbian pictorial heritage, carrying out restoration projects at 44 archaeological sites over the past two years, the National Anthropology and History Institute, or INAH, said.

The National Pre-Columbian Mural Conservation Program, launched in 2010, has analyzed and carried out restoration work at 101 sites - covering 133 sq. meters (1,430 sq. feet) - that contain these types of artistic manifestations, ranging from fragments of less than a meter (yard) to large-scale murals.

The program’s goal is to preserve pictorial manifestations considered of priority importance because pre-Columbian civilizations made them as means of communication and for artistic purposes, the INAH said in a statement.

“Never before had we been able to render judgment in such a short period of time on the state of conservation of such a large number of spaces with pictorial representations,” Lilia Rivero Weber, coordinator of INAH’s Cultural Heritage Conservation division, said.

The program has focused thus far on priority projects involving pre-Columbian murals of great historical and aesthetic value that pose a daunting challenge in terms of their preservation.

The archaeological zone of Cacaxtla, located in the east-central state of Tlaxcala, contains murals that were created between A.D. 800-1000 and are considered highly valuable because of their impeccable craftsmanship and unique iconography.

Archaeologists, engineers and chemists are participating in the project and working to eliminate impurities and preserve the paintings, Rivero Weber said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Puerto Rican Scientist In Charge of Food for Crew of 1st Manned Mission to Mars

Puerto Rican Scientist In Charge of Food for Crew of 1st Manned Mission to Mars

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A Puerto Rican scientist will be in charge of creating the menu for the first crewed mission to Mars.

Yajaira Sierra Sastre, a 35-year-old native of Arroyo, Puerto Rico, was selected from among a group of 700 scientists to be part of the six-member crew of the HI-SEAS, or Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation, mission, which NASA will undertake in 2013.

Her task will be to find the best way to keep the astronauts well fed and prevent them from getting bored with the menu during the Mars mission scheduled for 2030 and calculated to last some 2 1/2 years.

“I’m very excited about this project. In fact, I’ve already cooked rice and beans in the Puerto Rican style and also Spanish paella, and my companions liked both dishes a lot,” Sierra told Efe.

Sierra, who has a PhD in nanotechnology from Cornell University, says that although cooking has never been her strong suit, the idea of mixing ingredients and achieving an exquisite result has become a new way to use her knowledge.

“We will be living in solitude, set apart on some volcanic terrain in Hawaii and it’s the most similar (spot) on Earth to the surface of Mars,” she said.

She said that once at the site, the group of scientists will lose frequent and direct contact with the outside world.

“We will simulate a life like the one the astronauts would live on Mars, without the Internet, telephones, or contact with our loved ones, and with communications with delays of 15 minutes with Earth, which is the approximate time that it would take (to communicate) between the two planets,” she added.

That is, in part, why Sierra’s experiment takes on even more scientific value, she said, given that food not only satisfies a physical need and is vital for keeping people healthy but also it plays an important role in one’s emotional state.

NASA has found that astronauts on board the International Space Station get tired of eating the same thing every day, and that can affect their health due to the risk of losing bone and muscle mass.

“We have to seek solutions to the tedium of the menu, because it’s vital for them to be well nourished on a mission to Mars, since it’s such a long trip,” Sierra said.

The Red Planet has enough gravity to allow water to be boiled and to cook dry, seasoned food there, for example, with previously dehydrated garlic, onions and cilantro, she added.

The scientist will also take advantage of her time on the mission to study the properties of materials and the use of nanotechnology in the manufacture in space of light fabrics resistant to odors, stains and bacteria.

“The evocation of the odors of home, the seasonings and even the act of getting together to cook can be factors that would help the astronauts survive the emotional burden they will take with them on a trip to Mars,” said Sierra, who says she has dreamed of being an astronaut since she was a little girl.

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Puerto Rican Police Seize a Ton of Cocaine

Puerto Rican Police Seize a Ton of Cocaine

Photo: Puerto Rican police

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The Puerto Rico Police Department and U.S. federal authorities seized more than a ton of cocaine found on a launch 30 kilometers (18 miles) off the coast of the southern city of Guayama.

The operation was carried out Monday, PRPD chief Hector Pesquera said, adding that the two men aboard the smuggling vessel were arrested.

Authorities found the drugs thanks to a tip from a citizen who noticed the launch’s crew behaving strangely when he towed the vessel with his boat, the PRPD said.

Police noticed something suspicious in one of the launch’s fuel tanks and a closer inspection revealed 38 bales of cocaine with a total weight of 1,000 kilos (2202 pounds).

The PRPD has stepped up cooperation with federal law enforcement in response to an increase in drug smuggling activity in and around Puerto Rico, Pesquera said.

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ThursdayAugust 9, 2012